Tithing: An Obedient Response to a Faithful God
The Point: Respond to God’s goodness through a tithe of your income.
Get Into the Study
Use this story to introduce the point of this session: Respond to God’s goodness through a tithe of your income.
According to the Giving USA 2018 report, American’s charitable giving has reached an all-time high, with donations to charity in 2017 crossing the $400 billion mark for the first time. Some have pointed to this as a sign of Americans’ continued interest in philanthropy, while others have noted that these numbers were greatly bolstered by gains in the stock market and large contributions from some of America’s wealthiest. In fact, giving by individuals represented only 2% of disposable income on average, which is a decrease from 2.4% in 2000. As Christians, we are commanded to give. In this study from the Book of Malachi, we will be challenged to see what our attitude about money says about our attitude toward God. We will also discover the joy and benefits of giving back to the One who has given so much to us.
Study the Bible
Use this story to introduce the discussion of Malachi 3:10b-12.
Political leaders are often in positions of posturing and threatening. Sometimes, this is related to military threats. Currently, this is also evident in the on-going discussion of trade tariffs. The United States is threatening tariffs on Chinese imports, to which China has responded with their own tariff threats. The leaders of each country seem to be saying “just test me and see what happens.”
God’s challenge to the Israelites in verse 10b sounds similar to that of current political leaders. After calling for a tithe, God says, “Test me in this way.” However, God’s words and His actions are definitely not the same as ours.
Ask: How are God’s words in verse 10b different from those of political leaders
Nikki Wilbanks has a background in commercial real estate appraisal and investment, but is thrilled to be a stay-at-home mom, writer, and Bible study teacher, currently. She is a graduate of Pepperdine University, where she studied literature. She lives with her husband and two children in Murfreesboro, TN.
Study the Bible (Option)
Ask group members to share details they can recall, without looking, on a one dollar bill. For example: A pyramid, an eye, George Washington, etc. Record their responses. Then ask them to look at a one dollar bill to discover things on the bill they might never have really seen or thought about. Click here for some little-known facts about the dollar bill you can share with group members.
Say, “We ignore many mysteries and details about the design of the dollar bill, but far more important are the details about how we actually spend our money as followers in Jesus.” (Optional activity from the Senior Adult Leader Guide, p. 85).
- When have you enjoyed giving more than receiving?
- When have you had to work hard to earn something?
- What or who comes to mind when you think of the phrase “cheerful giver”?
- What does Malachi 3:7b reveal about the way God relates to us? Does your experience with God feel this way? Why or why not?
- In Malachi’s day and age, how was withholding tithes and offering practically “robbing” God? How does withholding a “tithe” rob God in today’s culture?
- Why is obedience in the area of giving so challenging?
- What assumptions and attitudes can hold some people back from tithing?
- How have you seen God bless obedience?
- According to these verses, what are the specific benefits of tithing?
- How have you personally experienced God’s provision as a result of being generous?
- How does Malachi 3:11 relate to the connection between tithing and obedience?
- What truths help you give joyfully?
Send the following link to your group members as either a teaser before the group meets or as a follow-up thought:
Here’s a brief video giving you an overview of this session: Special Focus session on Tithing
This article complements the study. Share this link with your group members.